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Sarah DeGuire, from left, John Blansit and Missy Handyside lead the way at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
Sarah DeGuire, from left, John Blansit and Missy Handyside lead the way at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center.

2019 Economic Impact Awards 16-29 Years in Business Honoree: Oasis Hotel & Convention Center

Investing in Hospitality

Posted online

Oasis Hotel & Convention Center General Manager Missy Handyside credits the facility’s success to an active, local owner and the freedom to be unique.

Last year, the Oasis produced its highest annual revenue to date, at $8.1 million.

Purchased by Prime Inc. owner Robert Low in 1999, the Oasis in 2017 became a member of the Ascend Hotel Collection through Choice Hotels, which Handyside says has boosted room rates by 10%.

Including a $5.6 million construction and remodeling project in the early 2010s that attached the hotel and convention center, investments are paying off for Low and the Oasis staff. Last year, the hotel’s outdoor pool area was renovated, and this year, guest room bathroom updates are next.

“Robert Low continually invests in the property,” Handyside says. “We are constantly making changes and improving the hotel and convention center.”

Low expects a healthy return on his investments, says Handyside, which is where the hotel and convention center’s 140 employees come into play.

“He holds us to a certain level,” she says. “He’s got expectations and we are thrilled that he does. Although he is a great motivator and definitely invests in the property, we also have seen an influx of business.”

Handyside expects a mid-70% occupancy rate in 2019, up from 72% in 2018 and 61% in 2017.

As a member of the Ascend Hotel Collection, Oasis is encouraged to be original. No two properties in the upscale boutique collection are the same, Handyside says.

“That has allowed us to embrace our uniqueness and lets us be a little more creative as far as the appearance of the hotel, the in-room amenities, just everything,” she says, noting the property has doubled down on its tropical theme, including the 2018 addition of live palm trees to the pool area. “We think we bring a little resort atmosphere to Springfield, Missouri.”

Handyside says the Oasis staff members feel the draw to help out the community at large in economic development.

The team in 2014 created an outreach task force called the Oasis Give Squad, through which employees give time and resources to help nonprofits, such as Ozarks Food Harvest and The Kitchen Inc. Additionally, the hotel donates coins tossed into fountains on its properties to local children’s charities. Low contributes a matching donation, as well.

Through its website, Oasis customers can purchase tickets to the area’s attractions all in one place, without upcharges. She points to Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium as an example of an attraction that’s drawing in millions of visitors – and those people need somewhere to lodge while in town.

“Springfield is known for giving great hospitality,” Handyside says. “We’ve got a reputation of being a very friendly community and inviting to guests.”

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